A company based in Kent has been ordered to pay more than £180,000 in fines and costs after a worker was killed by dangerous lifting equipment on a tipper lorry.
The fatal accident occurred in November 2009 at a domestic address where Brian Peek from Ashford had been unloading bags of hardcore and aggregate for Moores Turf & Top Soil Limited.
The lorry was fitted with a small crane and clam shell bucket, which he used to grab the bags and lower them to the ground. As Mr Peek unloaded the final bag, he leant over the back of the lorry and the crane turned around, trapping his neck between the bucket and the back of the lorry’s tipping body. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the equipment supplied to Mr Peek was in a poor state of repair and that the system of work employed to unload bulk bags of aggregate and hardcore was unsafe.
The incident could have been prevented had more suitable equipment been provided for the unloading task, such as a flatbed lorry and forklift truck. Moores had such equipment available for use, but chose to send the crane-mounted tipper instead.
Moores Turf & Top Soil Limited was fined a total of £85,000 and ordered to pay a further £97,791 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
After sentencing, HSE Principal Inspector Mike Walters said, “Brian Peek’s tragic death could and should have been prevented. The lifting equipment on the lorry was badly maintained and simply wasn’t safe for use. It was also unnecessary because the firm had better equipment more suited to the job, which could have been used instead.”
He continued, “Employers must ensure that they properly maintain lifting equipment, and that they provide their employees with the most suitable and appropriate equipment for the tasks they undertake. They must also ensure that safe systems of work are followed on-site during the unloading of goods from vehicles.”
For more information, see:
- Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations SI 1998/2307;
- Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (Northern Ireland) SR 1999/304;
- L113 – Safe use of lifting equipment.